For a few minutes on Saturday night I was a teenager again and just discovering the power of rock and roll. Chilliwack brought the 1970s and 1980s to Ottawa.
Nostalgia is a powerful force, which explains why the thousand seat hall was sold out for a band that hasn’t had a hit in about 40 years and hasn’t released an album in a decade. Mind you, after fifty years in the road you would expect that Chilliwack know how to give a good show – and they certainly didn’t disappoint.
Legacy bands are expected to deliver the hits. Chillwack’s set has been pretty standard for the past few years, maybe even the past few decades. But they don’t rest on their laurels: the first encore was a new song, “Alright” that I really liked.
They’re not working full-time, though they could probably book 300 dates a year. But you get to an age where the road isn’t as much fun as it used to be. I doubt any band popular in the 1970s is doing the same number of dates they once did.
Crisp guitars and Bill Henderson’s riveting vocals, along with a solid rhythm section, propelled the crowd into ecstasy. Perhaps not as frantic as the Trooper show I attended in February, but for me it was more emotionally satisfying.
Which shows how music affects each of us in different ways. I realize that Chilliwack evoke a different response in me partly because of where I was when I first heard them.
As a young teen back in the 1960 as I became a fan of The Collectors. When their lead vocalist, Howie Vickers, left the band, the remaining members continued as Chilliwack, releasing their first album in 1970.
On Saturday night, as the opening guitar sounds of “Lonesome Mary” began to fill the room. I was transported back to suburban Montreal and that year. Not a care in the world, other than surviving high school.
Five years later, when the first Trooper record came out, I was living in Ottawa and already working full-time. A very different stage of life. Which may be why Trooper’s music never resonated with me the same way.
Certainly when the band moved into “Seventeenth Summer,” a tune first done by the Collectors, I had an emotional reaction. It may not be my favorite Chilliwack (or Collectors) song, but I think it was the highlight of the evening.
Nostalgia can be fun, for a short period. It was nice to revisit my teen years for a couple of hours, but I don’t think I would want to live there full-time.
What about you? If you could go back and be a teenager again, would you?